President Donald Trump Seemingly Implies Jussie Smollett Committed 'Hate Crime' Against Supporters

President Donald Trump brought up the Jussie Smollett case Saturday unprompted, claiming it was a "hate crime" against his supporters.

trump smollett tweet
(Photo: Twitter/President Donald Trump)

"In addition to great incompetence and corruption, The Smollett case in Chicago is also about a Hate Crime," Trump wrote Saturday afternoon on Twitter. "Remember, 'MAGA COUNTRY DID IT!' That turned out to be a total lie, had nothing to do with 'MAGA COUNTRY.' Serious stuff, and not even an apology to millions of people!"

Trump previously called the case a "hate crime" during a Wisconsin rally in April.

"It's MAGA country. I didn't hear that term until that third rate actor in Chicago went out and said I was beaten up by MAGA country, can you believe it?" Trump told the crowd. "That's a hate crime, he said he was beaten up by MAGA country, turned out to be a total lie. MAGA... Make America Great Again. And by the way, I have to tell you, that case in Chicago is a disgrace to our nation. A disgrace."

Trump also called for the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the case in a March 28 tweet.

According to the FBI, a crime is investigated as a "hate crime" if the perpetrators "acted based on a bias against the victim's race, color, religion, or national origin."

In late January, Smollett claimed he was assaulted by two men wearing red Make America Great Again hats, who targeted him because he is an openly gay actor. He said the men yelled homophobic and racist slurs, put a noose around his neck and threw a substance at him while he was trying to get home.

Chicago police later accused him of staging the assault because he was unhappy with his Empire salary, charging him with 16 felonies related to lying to police. Police claimed Smollett paid two brothers to assault him. But on March 26, all charges were suddenly dropped and Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and completed community service.

During a press conference after the charges were dropped, Smollett insisted he was telling the truth.

"I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," the actor said. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."

This week, Judge Steven G. Watkins of the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled the case be unsealed for the public at the request of media outlets. The unsealed documents could shed more light on why prosecutors dropped the charges.

Smollett has avoided the public eye since March. On May 6, PEOPLE reported he was seen in Los Angeles leaving a restaurant with a friend.

The actor will not be appearing on Empire when the show returns for its sixth and final season in the fall. Fox confirmed his contract was picked up, but they have made no plans to include his character, Jamal, on the drama.


Photo credit: Getty Images